B’Ha’alosicha 5773: A Flash of Light

Taste of Talmud

There are some actions that we are required to do which are a Mitzvah, some are an Obligation, some a Good Idea, some a Custom, and others which are merely Permissible.  Where does the act of  lighting Shabbos candles fit in?  The Mishna in Shabbos quotes R’ Yishmael as saying that one does not fulfill his obligation of lighting for Shabbos if he uses foul smelling fuel. The Talmud asks: Why not?  Rava answers:  Because he will leave the room where the light is burning due to the foul odor.   Abayei retorts: So let him leave! Rava responds:  “My opinion is that the light of Shabbos is an obligation.  Tosafos and other Rishonim grapple with this terminology and how it answers the question.  The Rosh says that Rava is saying that there is an obligation to derive benefit from the light of Shabbos otherwise one does not fulfill his obligation.  Therefore if you can not stay in the room where the light is burning you have not fulfilled your “obligation.”  Tosafos says that Rava is telling us that besides the obligation of having a light in the house on Shabbos there is an obligation to have a light burning at the Shabbos seudah.  According to the Rosh, one is not obligated to make a Brocha upon lighting the light of Shabbos.  According to Tosafos you are obligated to recite a blessing upon lighting the light of Shabbos. 

Taste of Halacha

1) When there are three or four families all living in the same house, are they each required to light Shabbos lights?  If they are, do each of them recite their own individual blessing? The Shulchan Aruch (OC, 263:8) writes that they should all light a light for Shabbos, however, only one of them recites a blessing.  The Rema writes that we do not follow this custom.  According to the Rema, and agreed upon by the Mishan B­erura, each family recites a blessing on their own individual light.  The Commentators explain that this is because every added light increases the joy of those in the house.  According to this opinion, there is not only an obligation to have a light burning in your home on Shabbos but to increase the oneg, pleasure, of Shabbos with addded lights in every place where you will be on Shabbos. 

2) When a person is away from his home for Shabbos and he is eating in one house but sleeping in another, where does he light the Shabbos lights?  By lighting in the place of your meal you are fulfilling all opinions as to where the light should be lit.  However, if you are sleeping in your own home it is preferable to bring the light of Shabbos into your own home.  (As long as you will derive benefit from them at some point in the evening and there is no fire hazard.)

Taste of Parasha

In the Mishkan, all of the lights of the Menorah turned towards the center light.  Rashi explains that this is to teach us an important lesson.  Hashem does not need us to illuminate His  “House,” the Mishkan.  Similarly, in the Bais Hamikdash, the windows were constructed   wide on the outside and narrow on the inside so that the light from the Mikdash shone out to the world.  This too was to show us that Hashem’s house is the source of light for the world and He does not need external light to eluminate His  “House.”  What, then, is our role in lighting the Menorah?  Rav Yerucham Levovivtz Zt”L. brings out from here a beautiful lesson.  When we do our small part in bringing some light into this world we are the ones that get a lift.  When you raise up, B’ha’alosicha, you are the one that gets a raise.  This is true with the Mitzvah of lighting the Menorah in the Bais Hamikdash, with the lights of Shabbos, and with all Mitzvoth.  Each and every Mitzvah, Obligation, and Custom of our Torah is another precious opportunity to use our talents and abilities to bring a ‘flash of light’ to eluminate our neshama.  When our Neshama is shining brightly then our light fills  the world and spreads Hashem’s light to the world.

This issue is dedicated in loving memory of:

Ahuva Bas Shraga Feivel Mordechai

By: The Friedman Family


About tasteofyeshiva

RABBI YAIR FRIEDMAN teaches in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in YES and is the president of Visionary Reading. He was a Rebbi at The Torah School of Greater Washington, and a founding member of the Greater Washington Community Kollel he is the director of Yeshiva L' Baalei Batim and the owner of Camp Gevaldig LLC.
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